There Is No End

Hello once again to you all. Before I get started, I want to point out the poetry link in the pages section on the right. There’s only one there right now, well I say one but it’s really a collection of several, but at some point in time I’m going to post all my favorites I’ve ever written there. So…check it out and keep on checking. I hope you enjoy it and thanks!

Between now and my last post I had vacation #2 of 2009, another trip to NC and WV, but unfortunately there isn’t much awesomeness to report about the trip. Not long after I left, we found out that my cousin Jinger, my Mom’s sister’s only daughter, was in the hospital and it wasn’t looking good. She passed away, unfortunately, and I took Mom to NC for the funeral.

Jinger was only 50 years old – only 10 years older than me. I don’t feel like I knew her very well. I mean, when you’re a kid someone even just 10 years older than you might as well be a zombie. They’re SO OLD, right? What the hell do they know? How cool can they be? But alas – things are the way they are, and I suppose it’ll always be this way with kids. Anyway, by the time I was older, Jinger was married, with a kid, and not living in Princeton any more. Now I just wish I had gotten to know her a bit better, but isn’t that the way it always is when someone passes away? Blah.

It sucks too because what is there to say to someone’s Mom about their kid passing? I can’t even imagine it. It’s got to be the worse feeling there is, and this is a woman who has had to endure her husband passing not long ago as well. What is there is to say, really? I guess it’s just good that we were all there, and I’m glad I was able to be there. In the past, I might not have had a good enough job to have been able to travel up to NC for the services. God has blessed my life right now.

I know it’s hard not to question God when someone you love passes away. We can ask all the “whys” in the world, but there’s no point. This is life, and death is a part of it. It’s going to happen to us all. There’s no point in being angry or despairing. We miss the ones we lose, of course, and we should. But a part of all of our faith should be that realizing that when that time comes, we must accept it. After all, Jinger is not really gone. She’s not here, with us, but she is in a much better place. If that’s not enough to give us peace, then we all need to realize that we will see her again one day. Death is a part of life, yes, but it is not the end. There is no end. There are a lot of blessings to be had in this life, yes, but the best blessing is that there is no end for us. There is an end for this life, but that is not the end – and that is the greatest blessing of all. We should all hold tight to that.

And so as I have written here about my Dad, then Uncles Dale and Jim, I say to Jinger: Goodbye – until we meet again.

I’ve also recently found out that two of my Dad’s brothers, Uncles Bud and Don, have cancer now. Cancer continues its assault on the Terry family. I think it was cancer that took my Dad’s father, and then it took his brother Gene, and then my Dad himself. This rancid disease; there has to be a way we can conquer it, right? You’d think so, but I suppose maybe we’re not meant to totally conquer it. Death is a part of life, as I said, and cancer is one of death’s most powerful agents, that’s for sure. All my prayers are with Bud and Don, and everyone else afflicted with this scourge. We will all meet death, yes, but we deserve better than cancer.

Okay, so more talk of death and dying and all of that. Blah. What else has been going on lately…? I’ve taken up the hobby recently of creating my own beverages. Primarily I’ve been brewing my own beers.

Brewing beer isn’t as hard as it might sound. All beer really contains is just water, sugars, hops, and yeast. The primary sugar for beer is of course malted barley. What is malted barley? Read up about it on Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barley

Although malted barley is the primary sugar for beer, you can put pretty much any sugar in it that you want. Even table sugar (sucrose), although that doesn’t make good beer as it ferments into more of a cider taste than a beer taste. You can also put brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, or one of my favorites, honey. There’s a lot of books out there on the home brewing process, and I just bought one and read up on the process. Here is a good website, though, that details everything involved in brewing your own beers:

http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

After I read up on the process, I found a homebrewing store close to me, and went there to purchase equipment and ingredients. I bought a 5 gallon brewing pot, and several 6 gallon plastic buckets to serve as fermenters, a bottling bucket, and a bucket for my sanitizer. I got a kit that had other equipment like a hydrometer, which is used to measure the specific gravity of your brews to determine the alcohol content; a huge thermometer because knowing the temp of the brew it important at many times during the process; a siphoning system; 4 cases of empty bottles; a bottle capper and bottle caps; and other minor pieces of equipment.  For ingredients I was able to buy the different malts I wanted at the store, in addition to the other sugars, hops, and brewing yeasts. I detailed the whole experience in pictures that I posted to Facebook. I will post a link to the album here in the gallery section soon.

The magic of beer making can be explained by the glory of yeast. Yeasts eat sugars and convert them to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The fact that they also create CO2 is convenient, due to the fact that because of this you can carbonate your beers naturally. Just before you bottle your beer, you stir in more sugar into the mix for the yeasts to eat. The best sugar to use to do this is corn sugar, because it doesn’t leave an after taste when it ferments and it ferments quickly. So after you stir in the corn sugar, you bottle the beer and cap it. The yeasts left in suspension after the primary fermentation process go about eating the corn sugar. Since it’s in a bottle, and there is a cap, there is nowhere for the CO2 to go other than to be absorbed into the beer, which carbonates it. It’s extremely cool.

In any event, the beer turned out good and I’m drinking one of them right now. My favorite beers are English Pale Ales, as well as Irish Red Ales. Right now I’m drinking an Irish Red Ale that I made recently. It’s only been in the bottle for 4 days, so it’s not near finished carbonating yet, but the taste is still excellent. It’s a nice red color because I put a bit of roasted barley in with the malted barley. It’s awesomeness is extreme if I do say so myself.

Not only have I been making my own beers, but I’ve also been making my own Electrolyte beverages like Gatorade and Vitamin Water, as well as my own YooHoo chocolate drinks. All these drinks are expensive when you buy them at the store, and since more often than not I have the ingredients on hands to make this stuff myself, I figured why not. It’s just as good and much less expensive.

Let’s examine Gatorade first. What is Gatorade? Well simply enough, in my opinion, Gatorade is slightly flavored Kool Aid with electrolytes added. Slightly flavored because, let’s face it, Gatorade doesn’t pack much of a flavor punch, and the flavors are in much less variety than Kool Aid flavors.

As an aside, I know that the fact that I’m making things out of Kool Aid is going to make Angela squeal with delight: Hello Angie! Yes, Kool Aid is awesome, I know.

Okay, so what are electrolytes? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolytes for reference, but for short electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and bicarbonates. So, even shorter, electrolytes are salt (normal table salt – I use sea salt), salt substitute like “No Salt” (which is potassium chloride and potassium bitartrate), and baking soda (which is sodium bicarbonate).

The original formula for my Gatorade and Vitamin Water drinks was found on the WebMD website, which I found during a Google search for rehydration drink formulas.  This is the link to that:

http://www.webmd.com/hw-popup/rehydration-drinks?navbar=hw86827

I mixed some of that up, and let me tell you that it tastes like what I imagine ass must taste like. It’s just nasty. That’s when I hit upon my kool aid idea. It would be awesome if Gatorade came in such a variety of flavors! And flavors that actually taste like flavors LOL! So after some trial and error, and making my own formulas that tasted like ass as well, I hit upon this:

2 quarts distilled water
½ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon “no salt” salt substitute
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons lemon juice (citric acid – good for a stomach buffer)
1 packet of whatever Kool Aid flavor you want

This makes a little over 3 20oz Gatorade bottles of electrolyte drink.  My favorite Gatorade is Gatorade Rain Lime flavor. A 20oz bottle of this has:

130 calories
270mg sodium
75mg potassium
34g carbs and sugars

My version has in a 20oz bottle:

112.5 calories (15 calories in 1 teaspoon of sugar, which converts to 360 calories in ½ cup, 64 oz of water in two quarts converts to 5.625 calories per oz of liquid with dissolved sugar, and 112.5 in 20oz)

186mg sodium (295mg in 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and 300mg in ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, then follow above formula to determine amount in 20oz of liquid)

203mg potassium (650mg in ¼ teaspoon of “No Salt”, then follow above formula to determine amount in 20oz of liquid)

30g of carbs and sugars (4g of carbs and sugars per teaspoon of sugar, 96g per ½ cup sugar, then follow above formula to determine the amount in 20oz of liquid)

It costs roughly 30 cents per 20oz bottle to make this stuff, and that’s with me buying gallon jugs of distilled water to make it with. If you use just tap water, then it would be even cheaper.  If you want to have a bit of calcium and magnesium (other electrolytes) then you can also add a bit of calcium fortified orange juice to the formula as well. I haven’t tried this yet, but I probably will in the future. This would of course alter the sugar and caloric content in relation to the amount of OJ you use, of course. But as you can see, my version has less calories, carbs, and sodium, and much more potassium. And it tastes WAY better in my opinion. What is especially cool is that you can make whatever flavor of kool aid you can find, so there’s much more variety than in standard Gatorade.

EDIT (12/29/09): Since I wrote the above, I have modified my formula of the above Gatorade clone to include 8oz of OJ (Specifically the “Healthy Kids” variety of Tropicana Pure Premium as it has added Calcium [another electrolyte woo hoo] and Vitamins A, D, and E). To adjust for the added sugars in OJ, I lowered the sugar amount to 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon. I also lowered the amount of baking soda and “no salt” to 1/8 tsp. These changes have altered the nutritional values as follows per 20 ounces: 117 calories, 152 mgs sodium, 242 mgs potassium, and 31 g carbs and sugars. In addition, the drink also now has 63% DV of Vitamin C, 11% DV Calcium, 8% DV Vitamin D, 6% DV of Vitamins A and E, 5% DV Folic Acid, 3% DV Thiamin, 2% DV of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium [another electrolyte – although in a low quantity], and 1% DV of Niacin and Riboflavin.

Okay, let’s look at Vitamin Water next. What is that? Well, simply it’s Gatorade with different slight flavors with added vitamins. That’s all it is. The only vitamin water I ever got is the energy (tropical citrus) kind because it has Guarana in it. Guarana seeds have a ton of caffeine in them, much more than in coffee beans and tea leaves. However, because of the other chemicals in the Guarana seed it gets absorbed into the blood at a slower rate than with coffee or tea and therefore doesn’t cause the jitters that other sources of caffeine can in similar doses. However, like any caffeine, it can cause the jitters and all that if you drink too much of it at once. Anyway, I used to gets the Bawls soft drink all the time (www.bawls.com) to get my Guarana fix until I found Vitamin Water Energy. Then when I started making my own Gatorade, I figured I could do my own Vitamin Water energy drink as well – all I really need is the Guarana to add to it. I don’t need the vitamins because I already eat well and take a multi-vitamin every day anyway. So I guess it really isn’t “Vitamin Water” that I’m making – just caffeinated Gatorade. Anyway, I found a website that sells powered Guarana, and I bought some.

Now, like I said, Guarana has a LOT of caffeine in it, so I only have to use about 2 teaspoons of it in the above 2 quart mix to give it 62.5mg of caffeine in a 20oz bottle. However, the Guarana powder doesn’t dissolve in liquid very well at all, so what I’ve been doing is brewing it like you would triple strength coffee. I put the powder in a coffee filter, and run water through the coffee maker like making coffee. Then I take the liquid and pour it back into the machine and let it run through two more times. The resulting Guarana liquid is a part of the 2 quarts of water in the formula above, but the formula is otherwise the same. It makes a really good tasting energy drink with a good, steady kick that doesn’t give me the jitters or the stomach problems that drinking coffee gives me. It’s good stuff!

Okay, now on to Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink. What is Yoo-Hoo? Well, it’s just watered down chocolate milk, really. So why not just drink chocolate milk? Well, if you’re like me, sometimes you crave the consistency of Yoo-Hoo over regular chocolate milk. Here is my formula for making 2 quarts of Yoo-Hoo:

3 and 1/3 cups of milk
4 and 2/3 (or 5 if you want to round it up) cups of water
1 and 1/3 cups of Nestle Quick chocolate powder

It tastes best once it’s really cold, as do all of these homemade drinks, so don’t judge it if you drink it right away. In any event, you are free to play around with these formulas to your heart’s content as well. Just because I like it this way doesn’t mean you have to. But it’s doing little things like this that will save you some money in the long run, and you can make it taste just the way you want it to. Life is good sometimes.

Now I’m going to get into my random thoughts section that I sometimes include in my postings here.  Take the situation with Carrie Prejean, the former Miss California USA. She was asked during the Miss USA pageant how she feels about gay marriage, and she honestly replied that she didn’t believe in it because of her faith.  Well of course that started a huge backlash against her and she ended up losing the Miss USA pageant, and eventually was set up to fail, I believe, with the Miss California organization and stripped of that title.

What is it about the concept of freedom that is so foreign to us here in this country, of all places in the world for freedom to be so confusing? Gay people want to be free to express their sexuality, and they want to marry. But when it comes to someone expressing a contrary opinion, they work overtime to demean these people and their character. Shouldn’t freedom work both ways , folks? Gay people should be free to be who they are, but at the same time shouldn’t see, and others like her, be free to be who they are? You can’t have it both ways, people. Either you are free to be gay, and others are free to believe that such a thing is deviant, or none of us are free to be anything. Political Correctness is a blight upon our society, and until we do away with this in all its guises, then we will never be really and truly free.

There IS a difference between going out of your way to hurt gay people, and simply disagreeing with the lifestyle. Personally, I believe the federal government has absolutely no business deciding such things like gay marriage, or even if recreational drug use should be allowed. All personal lifestyle choices should be left up to the individuals, and therefore decided on a state government level through voting. I think everyone should be free to marry regardless of the sexual orientation involved. I believe everyone should be free to do whatever drug they want – the only thing we should police is the people who hurt other people while under the influence, just like with alcohol. If someone hurts themselves because of drugs, then that’s their fault. It’s their life – they should be free to do what they want with it. I believe these things because I believe in freedom.

However, because I believe in freedom, I also believe it’s everyone’s individual right to believe the exact opposite of what I believe. We have no right, and indeed it’s utter foolishness, to police opinions, feelings, beliefs, and ideals. I don’t understand straight people who try to make gay people feel like they deserve to die anymore than I understand why gay people want to make people who disagree with them feel like they’re stupid.

The gay lifestyle may be deviant to God’s desire and purpose, I can’t make that call because I’m not God, but that doesn’t mean that God wants to destroy gay people. God loves everyone. Period. We are such a hateful species. Each individual has their own choices to make, and their own relationship (or lack thereof) with God. God will make up his own mind regardless of what our Holy books say. It is foolish arrogance to think we know the mind of God. We have no right to judge any one in any way.

Gay people often say, “If I wasn’t born this way, then why would I choose this for myself?” Well, why does anyone choose to do anything? Why do we eat, and why do we eat what we eat? Why do people drink alcohol, or any other liquids? Why do people smile, or frown, or laugh, or cry? Why do people smoke? Why do they do drugs? Why do they shoot heroin when they know it will likely kill them at any moment. Why do we hurt weaker people, or anyone else? Why do we lash out in anger when forgiveness is so much sweeter? Why do we play? Why do we rest? Why do people abuse, sexually or otherwise, children or animals? Why do people hurt themselves in any way? Why do people get tattoos? Why do people get bizarre piercings? Why would you want a piece of metal sticking out of your face? Why? I could go on and on.

Why do we do anything – to satisfy some need, perceived or real. Be Gay. Go right ahead. It’s your right, and your choice to make with your own life. Whether you believe, or anyone else believes, it’s your choice or not is irrelevant. Everyone should have the right to be who they are – I believe that 100% – as long as who they are doesn’t involved infringing on the rights, or otherwise harming, others.

I will love you anyway, if you’re a lovable person on an individual level, because I think that’s what God wants us to do. Love who you feel, in your heart, you should love. Love covers up many sins – that’s how I feel about it. That, and Jesus didn’t die on the cross for the sake of the righteous. Which is awesome because I have a multitude of sins of my own that need God’s grace. Why are any of us casting stones at each other? None of us are blameless; we are simply forgiven if we ask, and we believe.

However, marriage is not a basic freedom in and of itself – it is not a right. Perhaps it should be, but the reality of the situation is that it’s not. The individual members of society therefore have a right to not accept gay marriage if that’s what they think is right.  Everyone is free to move to a state that will allow them to marry. If Georgia outlawed heterosexuality, I would leave Georgia. This is how freedom works, folks. Good, bad, right, wrong – if you want to be free, then everyone else gets to be free as well. When people persecuted Carrie, they persecuted themselves and freedom in general. It is as simple as that.

Okay, enough of the seriousness. Here are the quick random thoughts of the day:

  • What is up with the tiny laptop trend? Why would someone want a laptop with a screen so small, smaller than 14 inches for instance, that you are lucky to be able to run it at 1024×768? How could you comfortably look at a screen like that for the hours on end that you need to do to work with computers? I don’t understand it. It seems like craziness to me.
  • I understand that the magazine industry, and therefore magazine subscriptions, is dying a slow death. But still, if you’re going to continue to offer subscriptions you should do so with the same level of customer service as always. It used to be that when you subscribed to a magazine, you not only got it for cheaper than cover price but you also got your issue at least a week or two before it hit newsstands. That is not the case any longer. I’m lucky if I get my mags two or three weeks AFTER they’re on the newsstands. That sucks ass. It certainly isn’t going to help breathe any life into the magazine industry.
  • The iPhone 3.0 software was recently released, and it’s awesome. Once again I was to highly recommend the iPhone to anyone who is looking to get a smart phone. Especially if you’re already an iTunes junkie like I am – there’ s no reason not to get one. I use the apps on the thing more than I used it to talk. It keeps me in touch with family, friends, and even work with email and text messages. I play games on it all the time. Use it to make notes or set calendar reminders for myself. (I have a dentist appointment tomorrow [Monday the 22nd] – Ugh!) And I listen to music on it constantly. Once again, if you’re in the market for a smart phone, the iPhone is the way to go.
  • What I’ve been up to lately: playing Half Life 2. Wow! It’s an awesome game! Also been playing old text adventures I played in my youth, like Zork. Been learning one of the scripting languages that these text adventures are written with because I’m thinking of writing my own one day. That would be fun!
  • Been getting things moving again in the LXFFO, the fantasy football league of which I am the commissioner. Football season is around the corner so we have to get things started as far as doing our free agency and scheduling our rookie draft. Football rules, yes!
  • Been planning a trip to Myrtle Beach next month with Mom, my brother, and my nephew James. That’s going to rock.
  • Been listening to Sammy Hagar a lot lately. He has a new band called “ChickenFoot” with Michael Anthony (who he played with in Van Halen), Joe Satriani (guitar genius), and Chad Smith (drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers). The Chickefoot album KICKS ASS! It’s so good. If you like Sammy Hagar, or the Hagar version of Van Halen, you can’t go wrong with ChickenFoot. My brother and I have purchased tickets to see them in Charlotte on August 27th.
  • I bought Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween on DVD today, along with the remake of Friday the 13th. Yeah I’m in a horror movie mood. I didn’t really think much of Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween when I saw it I the theatre. Not because it’s necessarily a bad movie, but because I just couldn’t separate it from my love of the original. The original is such a perfect movie, and Rob Zombie’s version pretty much takes everything that was awesome about it and throws it away. Still, on it’s own, it’s not a bad flick I suppose. But the real reason I want to revisit it is because Zombie is coming out with a sequel in August, Halloween 2. The trailers for it look kind of creepy, so I’m going to watch his Halloween again so I can get ready for the sequel. I got the remake of Friday the 13th because I had a lot of fun watching it in the theatre, so I figured it’s worth the purchase.
  • The new Harry Potter movie comes out in a few weeks! I’m really looking forward to checking it out.
  • As you can tell, there’s a lot on tap for the summer. I’m sure there’s much more glory going to happen that I don’t know about yet, so keep your eyes peeled for further postings. I’m sure to recount the awesomeness of the Myrtle Beach trip sometime next month at least. There will be pics, and as always the easiest way to check them out is to get a Facebook account (www.facebook.com) and add me as a friend. I’m talking to you, Angie, you non-socializing punk! All work and no play, Angie. I mean…seriously. 🙂 The more you pump it, the harder it gets! Hahahahahahaha!

Well that is all for this time, my friends. Until next time, I hope the glory of your every day is indeed immense!

B

—-

A deeper kinda love
Has no borderlines, no ties
A deeper kinda love
Can bring you down and lift you up so high

A phoenix starts to rise from the ashes inside my soul
Leaving old wounds behind, a new me is born
And you show me your world
So dangerous, but I let go
And when I fall, I fall deep
Into a deeper kinda love

A deeper kinda love
Can also bring hurt and pain
And in the shadow that it casts
Lies jealousy, fear, and hate

The more I have to win means the more I have to lose
And it hits home
And when I think of losing you
And your deeper kinda love
You’ve shown me a world
So dangerous, still I let go
And when I fall, I fall deep
Into a deeper kinda love

A deeper kinda love
Has no borderlines, no ties
A deeper kinda love
Can bring you down and lift you up so high

A phoenix starts to rise from the ashes inside my soul
Leaving old wounds behind, a new me is born
And you show me your world
So dangerous, but I let go
And when I fall, I fall deep
Into a deeper kinda love

(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
Just show me your world
(Show me your world)
I want a deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love
(Show me your world)
A deeper kinda love….

“Deeper Kinda Love”
Sammy Hagar
From the album Ten 13

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